Posts Tagged ‘lamberton’

Debbie’s diary entry 2013

A lot happened in 2013..
What a start to the year as we found out I was expecting and Andrew made the big announcement! We celebrated birthdays, hen parties, baby showers, anniversaries, holidays, the city of culture, engagements and weddings. The joy of new arrivals, the loss of loved ones. New friendships formed, new roles in life for many of us. 
We lived in four different houses and finally settled in our new home! We watched the seasons change and enjoyed the weather of a real summer! We became parents, as Andrew and I were blessed with our little boy and have shared together, with our family, friends and church so many of Peter’s ‘first moments’ and our First Christmas together as a family (great being on maternity leave!).
As one year ends and another begins, we have a lot to give thanks for and a lot to look forward to in the year ahead! Many memories have been made, alot of laughter had and shared, many a tear shed, lessons learned and much still to learn..
Personally I have learned that you can’t ‘do’ life on your own strength. In particular I was reminded of this after Peter was born and I was quite unwell. The care, attention, love and dependance I had on God, Andrew, my family, friends, and hospital staff was felt most at this time. I am constantly reminded of that every day when I look at Peter.
Sharing life with Andrew, has been a real joy and a real journey. Each day may we continue to Stand on God’s grace and strive to walk in His ways. To live full lives, full in the fullness of God.
With full hearts and ready hands, Andrew and I step into 2014 and pray that God would pour into it, as we will..

Ready!
Eph 3:19

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for those heading to Uni or College

Mark 6:5f
“He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them. He was amazed at their lack of faith.”

Life is a series of opportunities and well… Opportunities pass. Time keeps us in step with passing and coming opportunities but Time wont let us go back and re-live them, even if we’d hoped to ‘do better’. 
All those opportunities you had in school or last year at college/uni are gone, whether you were following/trusting Jesus in those conversations and places or ignoring Him.
Anyway.
Jesus isn’t overly interested in your past.

So this year at college/uni know the God who you are following.  Jesus is not tagging along side you in your life. No. You are following Him into your class, friendships, accommodation, CU leadership. You are following Him, so have faith. 
Whatever you do don’t have a ‘lack of faith’. 
I fear too often we repeat this upsetting passage found in Mark 6, when Jesus was in his hometown.
So above all else have faith. follow Him.
That means to trust in His faithfulness!
And He is faithful.

Standing on Grace

Resurrecting Romance

Love isn’t something talked about too much, I mean love as that in that thing they talk about in songs and the thing that people have to work at, the thing that increases each time you take out the bin without being asked. 
I mean songs, books, movies, poems, card greetings are written about it, or maybe they just hint at it.
But in every day convo, romance, real romance is a rare topic. I guess by ‘romance’ I’m talking about the ability to show someone that they are loved.
Not the ability to string words together to get your way.  

Cause if I’m honest sometimes when Debbie’s doing a pancake making dance (it’s funny and she’ll kill me for saying that) I just think that I’d miss her even if we’d never met.  And yet the Bible doesn’t leave romance un-talked about, you just need to read a wee book between Ecclesiastes and Isaiah.  Man… it’s a book about marriage, insecurities, the vulnerableness of a close relationship, physical passion, the respect of marriage, and the gentleness of love. 
One really interesting thing is an early comment is one of insecurity, ‘She’ says ‘don’t look at me for my skin has been darken by the sun‘ and so on and it takes the man a good few chapters of complementing her beauty to get her round to the idea that she ‘looks the part’.  

you can never tell your wife enough, how awesome she looks.  

One small verse that really has been true to me and pushed me into action in my now year of being married.  Is found in Ch2v15

Catch for us the foxes,
    the little foxes
that ruin the vineyards,
    our vineyards that are in bloom.

The vineyard is a picture of 2 things in the book, The girls beauty and the relationship itself. In this context it’s a metaphor for marriage. Watch for those little foxes, that just ruin the day, ruin the car journey, ruin a ‘night in’, spoil your ministry.  The little things that annoy eachother. 
We’re not talking about huge elephants that tramp on a marriage like being abusive or an affair. 
This is the little things that just spoil the time that is meant to be ‘love’.  Things like, ignoring each-other when in public, always being late, not taking the bin out until asked 3 times, the washing lying in the basket for a month, money being spent on something deemed unapprobate.  Or we could equally say, that the little foxes are, being uptight, unnecessarily annoyed and aggravated that: she’s making you late, he’s not taking out the bin, the washing is lying for weeks. 
There is a casualness and an accepting spirit needed to be married to someone and keep love alive.  I used to say  that’s not the way I’d do it, if living on my own. I needed to wake up.  I’m not living on my own. I’ve got a family.

There is a need and skill to notice the little foxes and there’s a sacrificial spirit needed catch them!  And there is a big need to encourage in your wife/husband in what they are good at, in what their gifts are in.  To build them up so you can love them more. 

Stop the little foxes. Tell your wife she’s beautiful.

Hope this came across ok, I felt the timing was right with my sister getting married at weekend and our 1 year anniversary yesterday.

Standing on Grace.

The Devil’s Outreach and the forgotten tool of evangelism (Jesus’ will Jesus’ way part 2)

We cannot live for Jesus without living like Jesus.  
We cannot do the will of Jesus without living the way of Jesus.

Jesus’ will Jesus’ way. (part 2)
please let me know what you think of this, all discussion is welcome! 

Once we have a grasp on the fact that we cannot and should not do the will of God without doing it in the way of God.  That is, for the Father’s glory, copying the life of Jesus and doing it through the Spirits power.  This new age that Jesus brought in, and the mission He left us with, to make disciples in His name teaching them to love.  It must be done in the way of Jesus.  Jesus’ life matters immensely.  It is the example that God choose to show us, how life is meant to be lived, how we are to live this Kingdom Life, this Resurrection Life.  The sermon on the mount, the parables, the encounters He had with people, the way He addressed His parents and followers, the way He played with children, the things He wept about, the things He celebrated, should be the nut’s and bolts of what we use to put our lives together.  All of His weeping, jumping, playing, teaching, story telling, eating, chatting, Sabbath observing, praying, waiting, sacrificing, walking on water, cooking breakfast, these things should be always on our minds, if we are going to live like Jesus; if we are to follow.
The first thing you do when following is observe, and you keep observing that which you’re following as you begin to walk in the pre-trodden footprints.  

So as we specifically look at the mission of Disciple making, the extending of God’s kingdom which we are all called to, I think we need to look at the start of Jesus’ mission when He started. 
When we think about making disciples, I’m beginning to find that Satan is trying to tempt us into doing the right thing the wrong way, he tries to get us so focused on the will of God, that we forget the way of God.   We still give it the label ‘outreach’ and it seems to do the job of making us feel good about our engagement in God’s kingdom.
This seems to be satan’s first tactic. 
He get’s us to simply serve God not be a servant of God.  You can serve someone solely on your terms, however you cannot be a servant on your terms.  You do not follow Jesus by ‘helping’ Him along in his mission. No. You partake in it, you become a servant and follower you personify his mission as a lifestyle.  

Jesus didn’t just tell the truth, He was the truth; Jesus didn’t just show the way, He was the way; Jesus didn’t just introduce you to the life, He lived the life.  

So when Jesus was about to start announcing the Kingdom of God, the kingdom He would rule, He was tempted by Satan in three ways. I believe this is recorded for us as a warning that when we start to think of How we are going to make disciples, we will be tempted in the same way and to watch we don’t fall into the trap of setting up God’s kingdom in a faster, more efficient manner, one which we think God hasn’t yet considered.  The story is in Matt 4 and Luke 4.

Jesus was tempted to make stones into bread.
And He could have, in-fact he could have made all the stones in the world into bread and ended world poverty.  He could have lived showing off His ‘super-powers’ and lets be honest that would have been a real eye catcher. He could have promised bread for all who pledged alliance to him, he could of pointed his finger at trees and made them crumble to dust and then re-grow in 10 seconds.
He could have, but He didn’t. 
He didn’t bribe people into the kingdom, He was no prosperity Gospel preacher, He did not put on a magic show to ‘attract’ people into the church. He built relationships with people, He told people it was their faith that healed them, He wasn’t looking for a pledge of alliance for some surface level “you serve me and I’ll change your stones into bread” contract.  He knew only the world of covenant, a messy relationship filled community.
Jesus didn’t come to save the world by preaching prosperity and bribing people into the kingdom and neither should we.

Jesus was tempted to show-off His standing with Heaven.
The Devil temps Jesus to jump off the temple into a crowed market place, I’m sure with many important people in the crowd.  The angels from heaven would come to His rescue and everyone would see just how important He is and bow down and worship Him.  What’s wrong with that?  Well, He could have made a celebrity out of Himself, walking around with visible angels at His side. He could of kept that huge choir of angels that appeared at His birth as His opening act when he came to a town near you.
He could have but He didn’t. 
He didn’t try to make a celebrity out of Himself, when He was in Jewish regions and someone said ‘you’re the son of God’ He was like ‘keep that down will you’.  Relationships were so important to Him that He wanted to get right down to our level so He could have real friendships.  He wasn’t looking for some sort of celebrate status so He could increase His influence levels and impact the world.  He knew only the world of humble loving, relationships.
Jesus didn’t come to save the world by showing off and becoming a celebrity whose better than other people and neither should we.

Jesus temped to have control over people by force.
The Devil temps Jesus by showing Him all the kingdoms of the world and saying, “you came to be their king didn’t you? Well, I can make that happen for you right now, no need for Geathsamine no need for the cross just pure lordship.” well I’m sure that was tempting! But then came the decision making comment from the lier, “only if you bow to me first.”  Now He could have became king by force, He could have followed the way of the devil. He could have used his power to manipulate and intimidate people into being subject to His rule. 

He could have but He didn’t.  
He didn’t force people to obey, He didn’t make people come into His kingdom, He didn’t take advantage of people’s emotional state.  Relationships have to be a free choice, Jesus knew this. So many times He let people reject Him sometimes without much care it seems.  He always gave people the choice to follow or not, He didn’t even butter up his kingdom, often telling people how much they’d have to give up. He knew only the world of a trusting, freely following relationship. Jesus didn’t bring people into His kingdom by force or taking advantage of them and neither should we.

Neither should we, preach prosperity Gospel, come into the kingdom and all your stones will turn to bread!

Neither should we, embrace celebrity culture, come to the kingdom because David Beckham thinks it’s a good idea.

Neither should we, leave people with no choice, taking advantage of their emotional state or leaving them with no choice. 

The three big temptations of Jesus, are still very evident as we continue in Jesus’ mission to the world, we are tempted to do the right thing the wrong way:
To preach that all your stones will become bread if you come to our church
To preach that, ‘hey look being a Christian is cool, just look at this cool rock star we have who became a Christian.’
And to force people into the church with threats and bribes into professing Christ. 
Would be to follow the devil’s plan for church outreach.  

We need to study Jesus’ life in detail, we need to read the gospels as part of our routine, to allow them to absorb into our character and into our church mission plans.  What if we were to plan our church’s outreach with using no other references or templates other than the 4 gospels.  The woman at the well, Jesus’ focus on prayer, how he challenged hypocrites, who he spent time with, His over dinner conversations, His public speaking.  How would our churches look if we didn’t follow the:
‘come to our service and get free tea/coffee a KFC voucher, oh, and you’ll get richer’,
‘come to our service and meet a celeb’,
‘come to our service, or else’, approach.

Relationship is the scaffolding of Jesus’ kingdom building, a real one, with a real Jesus.
Is relationship the forgotten tool of evangelism?
my prayer
‘Oh to have a pure witness, unwavering and boldly following Jesus.
Please Holy Spirit lead me to be more like your son. I love you and long for you.’

Standing on Grace.

ps
Sorry if this sounded harsh. I feel I myself fall into the devils temptation to do the right thing the wrong way often. 
I’m hoping to do part 3 of “Jesus’ will Jesus’ way” 

if we lose this generation:

If we lose this generation of young people from God’s kingdom:

It wont be because we challenged them too much, but because we challenged them too little.
It wont be because we asked too much of them, but because we didn’t believe in them enough.
It wont be because we pushed them too much, but because we didn’t dare them enough.
It wont be because our teaching isn’t relevant enough, but because it’s not radical enough.
It wont be because of the expression of our worship, but because of the reason why we worship.
It wont be because we’ve made the life of faith too complicated, but because we’ve made it too comfortable.
It wont be because we haven’t been responsible enough, but because we haven’t trusted them with responsibility.
It wont be because our church isn’t culturally relevant enough, but because our church isn’t culture changing enough.

If we lose this generation from the kingdom of God
It wont be because we haven’t made the Gospel simple enough, but because we haven’t made it life changing enough.

Because we haven’t believed, I mean really believed in the life-changing power of Scripture, and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit who longs to guide them on the adventure which is the life of faith.

Standing on Grace

Actively Discipling; Patiently Reliant (Jesus’ will Jesus’ way : part 1)

Hey, feel this is very important for us.  Would appreciate your thoughts.

Jesus could have said anything to His disciples when he was leaving earth, however He left His disciples (us) with a mission, goal, calling, dream.  He had poured into these men and women over the past years and now, was passing on the baton, but sending His Spirit to continue His dream.

Matthew records it like this:
Go and make disciples of all the nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you.”

Mark records:
Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone.”

Luke records:
“It was also written that this message would be proclaimed in the authority of his name to all the nations, beginning in Jerusalem: ‘There is forgiveness of sins for all who repent.’ You are witnesses of all these things.”

John records:
Feed my sheep (addressing Peter)… …Follow me”

One thing for sure is that it’s an active calling, not one that allows for laziness.  There is also a big emphasis that we’re to do this in the same power, the power of Jesus, that it’s His work.  John’s ‘follow me’, Matthew’s ‘I am with you always’, Luke’s ‘in the authority of his name’ and Mark’s ‘and the Lord worked with them’ are there as markers (like post-it notes on the door out of your house) saying that this will be the Spirit’s doing and they annihilate any notion that we’re to be active for the Kingdom in our own strength.

These 2 things cannot be ignored. The Gospel writers have insured we don’t. 
That we are to do Jesus’ will, Jesus’ way.  

Our world is full of people, organisations, governments, families, businesses who so often do the right thing, the wrong way.  We bring peace by dropping bombs, we show love to our families by being away from home for 6 months at a time providing for them, we give some of our organisations profits to charity so we can run a feel good advertising campaign, we be kind so that they’ll ‘owe us one’, we make our country stable by upsetting another, we give money to charity through a greed driven raffle.

What is terrifying is that we can bring this doingtherightthinginthewrongway’ness into the church community.
We can’t proclaim the good news without following Jesus’ example. 
John’s gospel make’s it clear to us that what we see Jesus doing, we do. 
That we do Jesus’ will Jesus’ way.

I washed your feet; wash one another’s feet (13:14)
I have loved you; you love one another (13:34, 15:12)
You’ve seen me work; you’ll do my work (14:12)
I’ve been with you; the Spirit will be with you (14:16-17)
I live; you also will live (14:19)
You are in me; I am in you (14:20)
I was hated; you will be hated (15:18-25)
I haven’t finished what I have to say; the Spirit will tell you (16:12-15)

Then in John 17 (the prayer) Jesus continues with this ‘me-them’ talk.
‘We are one; may they be one’,
‘You sent me; I send them’

Following Jesus and doing Jesus’ will are inseparable.  Jesus meant for us to continue His work of extending His kingdom by following His example of how to do it.  Peter did not start a whole new thing at Pentecost, he did not introduce people to a new God no, He was continuing the work of Jesus, he used Joel as his sermon text.  Jesus brought in the age of Grace, a new age, but still a continuing part of God’s plan that’s been going from before time.  

We may be making disciples of a new generation but this is a continuing work of Jesus and must be done the way Jesus reveled He wanted to extend His kingdom. 

We may think we’re reasonably accomplished at running businesses, our families, and sports clubs and we may think we’re pretty good at getting things done.  We may think that we can model our church’s expansion off a McDonald’s successful advertising campaign. But to do the Great Commission without considering the way of Jesus is not inappropriate. It’s wrong. 
We cannot live for Jesus without living like Jesus. 
We cannot do the will of Jesus without living the way of Jesus.

To be continued… 

I plan to continue this blog by writing a bit about the way Jesus could have but didn’t and the way He did do the will of God.

Standing on Grace

 

Jesus (following the invisible)

I wish I could just see Him.  That when I embark on my day and pray I’ll live the Jesus way.  That He would be there, like actually there, with one of those harnesses and leads you see toddlers attached to which their mum uses to keep them within arms reach.  Oh how easy it would be to follow Jesus then, how easy to ‘walk where His feet trod’. 
For there is two kinds of wisdom that I try to use: Mine. His. 
One says work and save hard hard, the other says look at the sparrows and the lilies.  One says being stressed and busy is rewarded, the other says be still and know that I AM God.  One says make sure you live life to the full, the other says well that means dyeing to yourself.  One says get, the other says give.  One says worry the other says pray.  One says prepare well in advance the other says trust.  One says give me enough to do a ‘Friday big shop.’ the other says give us today our daily bread.  One says try to forget, the other says forgive. 
These two kingdoms meet me every day, oh how easy it would be if Jesus was there with His lead and harness around me directing me in the right way.
And yet theologically I know that He is there, the encouraging force in most of my decisions.  However, though I theologically believe this (omnipresent) I need to experientially believe it, to feel/know it know that Jesus is right there.  Looking over my shoulder encouraging me to take those opportunities to love those people, to trust whole heartily!
I feel like Elisha’s servant in 2Kings 6 when Elisha was full of the faith as enemy was advancing towards them but his servant just couldn’t make sense of God’s plan at all.  Then Elisha prayed for him, in v17 “And Elisha prayed,

“Open his eyes, LORD, so that he may see.” Then the LORD opened the servant’s eyes, and he looked and saw the hills full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.” 

And here we are, yet we are asked to live by faith not sight, though we long for the day when we can see Jesus face to face, for now we have faith.  And through the spirit we can see and hear from God in His word, creation, fellow man, Spirit.  For this i certainly need help.

God help me to see your image in every person I meet, help me to sense your spirits voice in every Christian I talk to, help me to see your creative word in all creation, and please God plant your Word deep in my heart that it may live in me, be my very being, that I may follow your son completely to the end of my life!

“Here’s how to determine God’s will for your life: Go wherever your gifts will be exploited the most.”  John Stott

Standing on Grace

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